Choose the letter which begins musical term that you would like to learn about:
Abbreviation for piano, soft.
Unaccented notes which move conjunctly
between two chords to which they do not belong harmonically.
Instruments made of sonorous material
that produce sounds of definite or indefinite pitch when shaken
or struck, including drums, rattles, bells, gongs, and xylophones.
A term used to label fourth, fifth, and octave
intervals. It corresponds to the major, as given to seconds, thirds,
sixths, and sevenths.
Perfect authentic cadence
A special cadence in which both the dominant (V) and tonic (I) chords have their root in the bass and the soprano ascends of descends stepwise to the root of the tonic.
The chordal progression of dominant to
tonic, in a major key V-I, in minor V-i.
Interval of an octave, fifth, or fourth
The ability to hear and identify a note
without any other musical support.
Perfect plagal cadence
A plagal cadence in which the soprano note remains unchanged in the progression IV-I.
Peu a peu
Little by little.
A relatively short portion of a melodic line which
expresses a musical idea, comparable to a line or sentence in
A harmonic close which originaled in the Phrygian mode as the final cadence. In modern usage, it is any transposition of the progression IV6 to V
Very, very soft;
the softest common dynamic marking.
"Soft-loud." A keyboard instrument,
the full name for the piano, on which sound is produced by hammers
striking strings when keys are pressed. It has 88 keys.
The term for the raising of the third,
making a major triad, in the final chord of a composition which
is in a minor key. The practice originated about 1500 and extended
through the Baroque period.
The highness or lowness of a tone, as determined
by the number of vibrations in the sound.
More. Used with other terms, e.g. piu mosso, more
"Pinched." On string instruments,
plucking the string.
Sometimes called the "amen"
cadence because it is often used at the end of hymns. The chordal progression of subdominant to tonic, in a
major key IV-I, in minor iv-i.
Little. Used with other terms, e.g. poco accel.,
also, poco a poco, little by little.
Poco ced., Cedere
A little slower.
Poco piu mosso
A little more motion.
Then or afterwards, e.g. poi No. 3, then No. 3.
"Play after." The final piece in a
multi-movement work. Organ piece played at the end of a church
"Play before." An introductory movement
Very, very fast. The fastest tempo.
Instrumental section leader.
An introductory piece that presents the background
for an opera.
Some definitions and terms excerpted from
Belwin Pocket Dictionary of Music: Music Theory Dictionary
By Dr. William Lee
Students may purchase a copy for home use at cost
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